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GBB NBA Over/Under Preview: Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs

I have some faith in the Toronto Raptors, and I know better than to lose any in the San Antonio Spurs.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at San Antonio Spurs Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Site Manager’s Note - Welcome to the inaugural Grizzly Bear Blues NBA Preview Over/Under Challenge! Think you are smarter than twelve of our staff members? Take the challenge by posting your over/unders in the comments section every day with the corresponding teams. We will keep track over the course of the season, and the commenter(s) who beats our overall over/under projections at the end of the season will win a Fan Essentials box!

The GBB Staff taking part in this challenge are

Joe Mullinax - Site Manager

Matt Hrdlicka - Senior Features Writer

Kevin Yeung - Senior Features Writer

Chase Lucas - Features Writer

Mac Trammel - Features Writer

Brandon Conner - Features Writer

Jonathan Concool - Game Coverage Writer

Colin Huguley - Game Coverage Writer

Austin Reynolds - Game Coverage Writer

Corban Ford - Game Coverage Writer

Jonah Jordan - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor

Adam Rubrum - GBB Boots on the Ground Editor

Today we’ll be talking about the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs.

TORONTO RAPTORS: Vegas Over/Under @ 49.5 Wins

GBB Overall Staff Predictions-

  • Ten take the over (Mullinax, Hrdlicka, Reynolds, Ford, Conner, Jordan, Trammell, Huguley, Rubrum, Yeung), two take the under (Lucas, Concool)
  • Average projected record: 52-30

Kevin’s players to watch and projection: I think 56 wins was near the Raptors’ upper limit last season, and that they’ll have a hard time repeating that. Their top eight, down one from last season after losing Bismack Biyombo, will still be really good. Hand-wringing over freshly near-max’d DeMar DeRozan’s game isn’t worth the fuss anymore, but if he plays a little less ugly and a little more modern, people won’t mind. If he produces same as last year, with the assists and free throws and 33.8 percent three-point shooting, the Raptors would be well on their way to finishing top-5 in offensive efficiency anyway.

Kyle Lowry is the damn truth and you should know this.

There are two guys I’m looking at, in terms of potential risers. It took me a while to buy in, but I’m fully on the Jonas Valanciunas train now. He’s some passing feel away from being an elite post player, but as it is, it’s very few guys in the league that can stop him inside without help. He’s got Boogie power with Gasol hands and touch; he’s also made great progress as a cerebral P&R defender, reading angles and speed and other nerd stuff. Dwane Casey may or may not feed him more touches this season, but Valanciunas works the boards if he’s not working the block.

The other guy is Norman Powell, who was awesome after the All-Star break last season when DeMarre Carroll was hurt. And oh yeah, healthy DeMarre is going to be awesome in a Raptors jersey when we see that for the first time.

I took the Raptors for 52 wins when I made my over/under picks, and that I feel like is more their expected norm. I might’ve just talked myself into going higher, but whatever. They’ll be really good this season. Right now, I would like to take them for a win or two more than the Boston Celtics (who I also picked for 52).

SAN ANTONIO SPURS: Vegas Over/Under @ 56.5 Wins

GBB Staff Predictions

  • Five take the over (Hrdlicka, Ford, Concool, Rubrum, Yeung), seven take the under (Mullinax, Lucas, Reynolds, Conner, Jordan, Trammell, Huguley)
  • Average projected record: 56-26

Kevin’s players to watch and projection: Whatever your gut instinct with the Spurs is, abandon it. You never bet against the Spurs. These are the only two ironclad rules in the NBA that I adhere to, and I’m not going to believe that they’ll fail me until it actually happens.

That Vegas over/under of 56.5 wins is intimidating. The trick is, don’t think about it, just take the over. Tim Duncan was legitimately a top-five defender last season, but the man’s out there in the great unknown, wearing bootcut jeans in peace. This story surely ends with Kawhi Leonard, already the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, stepping it up some more to mitigate the loss. Also, he’ll average 25 and join the 50-40-90 club, just cause.

Replacing Duncan with Pau Gasol and David Lee sure seems like it’ll hurt, and I’m sure in some ways it will. But only a few of the ways. I can imagine Gasol as a half-decent shot challenger at the rim (just don’t let that guy go anywhere outside of the paint, because as soon as that happens there’s not a single help rotation he’s making in time) and both players as usable post hubs for the Spurs offense. If you can imagine it, Gregg Popovich will make it happen.

There’s a few more young randoms on the end of the Spurs roster than usual, and of course they’ll all be home runs, but the headliner of the lot is clearly Dewayne Dedmon. Where you can question Gasol and Lee’s defensive credentials, you ain’t doubting a damn thing with Dedmon. Man’s gonna wild out this season.

Since the over/under is set at 56.5, I’m saying 57 wins for the Spurs this season. I look at the roster and don’t actually have that much confidence that the things I described will all happen, but confidence is not the point here. It’s trust, and it’s also knowing better. The Spurs never die.

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